The world wasn’t what it used to be. Diana looked through the window and saw people on the streets. All of them wearing masks, keeping some distance from one another, worried, focused on getting to their destinations as quickly as possible, without ever touching anyone. The pandemic changed the way people related to each other and some of the habits that had been adopted during its peak seemed to be everlasting.
She had been isolated for six months. Two hundred days, counted as if they were the measure of her loneliness. After what seemed to be a calmer period, with quarantine being interrupted, the second wave came like a hurricane, breaking any hopes that people could have had. The vaccine wouldn’t be ready anytime soon and the hospitals were getting crowded again.
There was no option for her, except for to stay home. But she couldn’t bear the loneliness anymore. Conference calls with friends weren’t enough to ease the feeling. Not even the occasional texts with guys from dating apps made her feel a little less lonely. It seemed that the digital world, by bringing people closer, made them feel more apart from each other than ever.
Some days, she just wanted some affection. Feeling fingers slide across her skin, maybe the soft touch of lips on her neck, a hug… Things no technological marvel could provide.
If there was someone she could choose to meet at that moment, it would be him. A guy she met on Instagram, unexpectedly. They both commented on the same kitten picture, at the time when the trend was to post cat pictures with people’s names written over them. From that, they went to direct messages and then to texting. Soon, they realised they wouldn’t be able to meet for a long time. After all, they didn’t even live in the same state.
But their conversations were always so amazing… They could spend hours talking about the most varied subjects. She thought of him as her “quarantine crush”. She hadn’t had a crush as strong as that on anyone in a long time, not even before all that madness began. It seemed that the world had played a prank on her, a way of torturing her: making her interested in a person she couldn’t get to see.
In moments like those, it seems there is no magic at all in the universe. There is sadness, fear, and despair, amid daily reality shocks. However, there are some who say that it’s precisely at those moments that magic comes to the aid of a few people.
And that is how it happened with her.
It all started in a dream. She saw herself once again sitting by the window, but she knew the world down there wasn’t the same from real life. There weren’t any cars on the street, but there were kids playing football, couples walking hand-in-hand and friends hugging each other. No facemasks, no worries, and a world without an epidemic.
She smiled. From her side, she heard a voice that, surprisingly, didn’t startle her.
– Do you miss it?
She turned to look at the person talking to her and saw an old lady, aged about 80 years. She wore a clear dress, with a pattern of little blue flowers. Her eyes were happy, but there was some melancholy in her smile.
– And who is that one? – The woman pointed somewhere outside.
She turned away from the old lady and looked at him on the street. It was her quarantine crush, a hand in a pocket and the other one waving at her. She waved back, with a sad smile.
– Someone I wanted to meet.
The old lady took one of Diana’s hands in hers. She knew that was a dream, but the touch felt very real. It was the first time in months that she had that feeling. The old lady looked deep into her eyes.
– I may be able to help you.
Her phone rang, bringing her back to the real world. It was always like that. In the most interesting moments of the best dreams, she had to wake up. It would be great to find out how that little old lady would be able to help …